Essays: 26th August 1973 [missing] |
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26th August 1973 [missing]

Missing file !

We don't have a copy of Clive’s column for August 26th 1973, nor do we know its title.
If anyone has a copy of the original, we would be delighted to plug the gap. Please contact us HERE.

Meanwhile, here's a complaint from actor Francis Matthews, with Clive's brief response, published 9th September:

An actor hits back

It might a good idea if your television critic, Clive James, avoided abusing his privilege to air his opinions in print by confining his copy to known facts.

In his ‘Movie Quiz’ review (26 August) the ‘virtually unbounded ignorance’ which he chose to attribute to the acting profession is at best a petulant assumption and at worst insulting beyond his brief. Of course there are ignorant actors, ignorant bank managers, ignorant milkmen and even ignorant critics, but I do not believe an encyclopaedic knowledge of films is Mr James’s IQ test for an entire profession and his remark implied a broader application than to a harmless quiz.

I have no means of gauging the number of actors he knows intimately. I would guess very few and must assume that his view of our stupidity is derived mainly from the weighted and limiting areas of public chat and blather into which actors are coaxed. Faced with that non-productive phenomenon, the interviewer, who, like the critic, lives vicariously off people who actually do something, and backed by him into a corner of suffocating cliché, no actor can be expected to display either knowledge or ignorance. The name of the interviewer's game is trivia, and trivia is what it elicits.

However, even in the fatuous quiz field Mr James took the trouble to judge us by, I myself, taken as a random sample contestant, managed to answer 10 out of 13 questions correctly, though admittedly I confined myself just to that and left ‘camp’ circumlocution to those better qualified.

Were Mr James and I to reverse our roles I would have the opportunity of publicly airing my opinion of his contribution to television in ‘Cinema,’ and it would be far from flattering. But giving him the benefit of the doubt, which he denies the actors he despises, I'm sure he is not like that at home.

Francis Matthews, Esher

Clive James writes, in reply:

Yes, but Francis Matthews is not a random sample contestant. He is one of the few contributors to Movie Quiz who has actually shown evidence of knowing something.

[ In reference to The Observer, 26th August 1973. Thanks to Christopher Bray for spotting this. ]